ETHS bids a fond farewell to…

Pam Baumgartner 

By Maria Seibold and Chloe Roberts

Art Teacher and Entertainment Editor

Some people have their work husband or work wife, well Pam Baumgartner is my work Life! We became fast friends when she started here 23 years ago. Over the years we developed a great tag-team approach with many of the visual arts students.

After One Art freshman year, they would have Pam Baumgartner for Drawing, then have me for Painting, and end up back with her for AP Studio. Students would be intimidated by her at first, and I often played the good cop to her bad cop. But in the end, they all loved “Ms. B.” which is evident by the parade of former students coming to visit every year.

We have been there for each other through a multitude of family events, baby showers, bar mitzvahs, weddings and our semi-regular book club. I have Pam to thank for getting me in shape. She started running and competing in races so of course I had to go with her. It’s on those runs that we got our best school work done. We covered many miles designing and redesigning the visual arts curriculum.

I have always been awed by her ability to connect with so many people, from students, to parents, to every member of the ETHS community. When she talks to you she has the ability to make you feel as though you are the only person in the room.

Parting is definitely a sweet sorrow for Ms. B. “I’m so excited,” she says, thinking of her plans to paint like it’s her full-time job, travel, and work with STEAM education. “It hasn’t really hit me yet. The only thing that’s hit me is that I’m doing massive clean ups, you know, I’m purging 23 years of stuff out of my back room,” she explains.

“I want to say that this has been another family to me,” she says, and a chorus of ‘aww’s resound from the students nearby.

Congratulations on your retirement.

Semadar Siegel 

By Samantha Idler

News Editor


Many people hope to pursue their true passion when they retire, however Semadar Siegel’s true passion is teaching.

“The two things that I love here, are number one, the students. They make me feel young and I have made amazing connections with students,” said Semadar Siegel, Hebrew teacher and sponsor of Israel club. “The other thing is the school staff, that have been so friendly”

Segel has worked at ETHS for 17 years and helped build the Israel club and the entire Hebrew program.

Siegel teaches all five Hebrew classes and hopes that when she’s gone, the language will live on as well as Israel club.

Seigel hopes to travel across the world and explore nature in various different places including, China, Japan, Button, and the Galapagos.

“Every year I’m going to do two huge trips, where I’ll hike a lot and be in nature.” said Seigel. She also plans on moving to Hollywood, Florida but is traveling to Israel to visit her mother and two daughters.

“I’m so proud to work at ETHS, the whole atmosphere, the diversity, and having a school with everyone.”


Doc K

By Ashley White

News Reporter

Dr. Russel Kohnken, more commonly known as Doc K started at Evanston as a student teacher while getting his Masters at National Louis University in 2001.

Before that he attended State University of New York at Brockport to study biology and chemistry, graduate school at Michigan State for biochemistry with a thesis focused on vision. He has worked at Northwestern, and eventually made it to ETHS to teach Chemistry.

He used clever visual aids to help students better understand the material they were learning. In one lesson on muscle contraction, he encouraged students to bring in their skateboards and roller blades to explain how muscles slide past each other.

“A lot of that time was spent trying to figuring out where the kids were, how do I reach them and how do I create this visual images for them,” says Kohnken.

Before becoming a teacher, Kohnken worked for a biotech company researching Alzheimer’s disease. “I developed a diagnostic procedure which is quite good, the problem is it uses cerebral spinal fluid which means you have to have a spinal tap,” says Kohnken. “But this one worked very well so I was proud of that. The company marketed it to other drug companies… and it was a tool that other drug companies used to work on their drug development programs,”

Kohnken has quite a few options on how to spend his days after retiring.

But all of his time won’t be spent in leisure. “I might volunteer for our state senator Dan Biss — I’ve gotten to know him a little bit. I might run for the school board because it’d be nice to have someone who’s been in the classroom on the school board,” added Kohnken. “There are lots of paths to follow.”

Chester Jones

By Gabe Aichholzer

Chester Jones

After 23 years of hard work, Chester Jones will be retiring this year.

Jones is the founder of the Adventure Ed program at ETHS, teaching kids outdoor skills.

The highlight of the class is a weekend camping trip where the kids experience what it’s like to live in the wilderness.

One of the things Jones attempted to do with his students was give them an appreciation of the outdoors and life without electronics.

Jones has also been the varsity gymnastics coach.

He was loved by his athletes, who say his ability to push them to their maximum potential made him such an outstanding coach.

Jones spent six years in the Navy, including work with SEALS and served in Vietnam. After his time in the armed forces, Jones taught martial arts and gymnastics at Southeast Missouri State.

As for life after ETHS, Jones says he’ll still be involved with the Adventure Ed camping trip as long as he remains in Illinois. However, he plans on moving to New Mexico or Texas.

“I’ve still got a lot of family in Texas, and I went to school in New Mexico and love the area,” explains Jones.

As for what he’ll miss the most at ETHS, Jones says “the kids.”